PrimeMinister Doctor Kenny Anthony, declaring that the national economy is on the way to recovery and attracting local and foreign investment, has asserted that his administration has surprised everybody.
“Certainly I would say that we now have an environment of confidence in the future of this economy which is an important thing because without confidence an economy cannot develop and grow,” Anthony said.
However he warned that Saint Lucia is not out of the woods, since there are difficult decisions to be made.
Responding to critics who have argued that the Saint Lucia Labour Party, SLP, administration should have delayed the implementation of VAT, Anthony recalled that there was a clear commitment in his party’s election manifesto to introduce the measure.
“There was little alternative, but also how much longer could Saint Lucia have remained as the single country in the Eastern Caribbean without VAT when all other countries of the Eastern Caribbean, and those in Caricom had moved in the direction of VAT,” the Prime Minister said.
Alluding to what he called the unstoppable march towards VAT, Anthony admitted that the measure was introduced at a time when the economy was in contraction.
However he said that at the time everybody understood that in a situation where the financial markets were difficult, the countries of the Caribbean were not able to attract that easily the badly needed revenue needed to pay for social services and meet the cost of the public service.
“Despite the fact that VAT was introduced in a period of economic downturn we are now seeing the benefits,” he asserted, pointing to an upward trend in revenue as an example.